Fenians (Johnstown) sealed their second win in the senior hurling league when they triumphed over Dunnamaggin in this exciting third round clash in Tom Ryall Park on Saturday.
The victors held their opponents to a single score in the second half, while at the other end of the field they had outstanding performers in Willie Brennan and Kevin Power. Both were provided with top quality deliveries from J.J. Delaney and Cathal Ryan throughout, and they made the best of things.
This loss leaves Dunnamaggin hovering above the relegation zone, level on two points with Tullaroan with just two games remaining. The first score came after 30 seconds. Eoin Shiel set Kieran Grehan up nicely, allowing the wing-forward to slot over. J.J. Dunphy responded for Dunnamaggin, striking off his left side, before Ciaran Behan latched on to the break of the resulting puck-out and his shot went straight between the uprights.
Patrick Delaney, who started instead of Bill McCormack, got the game’s fourth after five minutes when he pointed with a tidy strike from the corner. The action had started at 100 miles an hour and it didn’t slow down. P.J. Ryan left his goal to strike a free on midfield. His effort dropped into the goalmouth, and a partial clearance fell to Paul Quinlan, but when he double on the ball the shot went narrowly wide.
Dunnamaggin pointed from a placed ball, courtesy of Peter Kenneally, before a long, searching ball by Cathal Ryan found Willie Brennan, who flicked the ball to Power, who fired over his first of the game. Kenneth Moore pointed from a Dunnamaggin free after 17 minutes.
Cathal Ryan was again the creator when he set up Conor Tobin, who pointed with a great strike from midfield. Power pointed a free before Willie Brennan eluded the losers defence with some neat skill before slapping the ball over. Kevin Power closed the first half scoring when he ran into space in behind the Dunnamaggin half backs before firing over to leave his side leading at the interval by 0-7 to 0-4.
That half had been very entertaining, and Fenians got all bar one score from play. Dunnamaggin had the wind advantage but they failed to take advantag. Referee Paddy Neary let the game flow and it was a good contest, with heavy tackles and good flowing play.
The second half started much slower, with Fenians adamant to hold on. They were never going to let much ball get near their goal. Both sets of backs were on top. No clear cut chances fell to either side during the opening 10 minutes. The game was slowed down constantly by Fenians and J.J. Delaney and Cathal Ryan cleared their lines repeatedly.
Willie Brennan opened the scoring after 41 minutes when he collected a low delivery before firing over. Dunnamaggin took until the 44th minute to reply when a Fenians clearance fell into the hands of Kieran Bergin, who pointed. That was their last score.
Fenians totally dominated the closing quarter. Power pointed his third score from play in the same style as the others, coming short into space before precisely arrowing his effort over. The losers defence was under serious pressure. The fast movement of Willie Brennan was too hot to handle, and he scored his side’s tenth point after a long P.J. Ryan puck-out bounced into his corner.
Brennan capped off an excellent display when he got his fourth point in injury-time after snatching a short Dunnamaggin line ball before firing over. After a dismal start to the league, Fenians have turned their fortunes around with two decent wins. The right blend of youth and experience proved an unstoppable combination in attack, with Brennan and Power linking up time after time to push Fenians ahead.
Scorers: Fenians - Willie Brennan (0-4); Kevin Power (0-4, one free); Conor Tobin, Kieran Grehan, Ciaran Behan (0-1 each).
Dunnamaggin - Kenneth Moore (0-2, frees); Patrick Delaney, Kieran Bergin, J.J. Dunphy (0-1 each).
Fenians - P.J. Ryan, Cathal Ryan, J.P. Grehan, Eoin Phelan, John Henderson, J.J. Delaney, Conor Tobin, Declan Garrett, Ciaran Beehan, Eoin Shiel, Paul Quinlan, Kieran Grehan, Willie Brennan, Kevin Power, Enda Purcell. Subs - Jason Ryan, Declan Brennan.
Dunnamaggin - David Herity, Mark Dowling, Aidan Donovan, Mark Heffernan, William Phelan, Canice Hickey, Noel Hickey, Kenneth Moore, Darren Fitzpatrick, Kieran Bergin, Peter Kenneally, Seaghan O Neill, Patrick Delaney, J.J. Dunphy, Andrew Hickey. Subs - William Hughes.